Best hosting for ecommerce
Your ecommerce site is like a window into your business. You work hard to showcase your brand in the best light and streamline the experience for your audience.
eCommerce hosting pertains to a web hosting platform that serves an electronic commerce website.
Compared to standard web hosting, eCommerce hosting accommodates a multitude of functions required to operate a commercial website.
These features include payment processing services, security initiatives, SSL, shopping cart software, and more. eCommerce hosting provides everything required to effectively and efficiently run an eCommerce business.
In the past decade, retailers have been closing their doors and opening online sites with eCommerce growth outpacing retail growth. Some refer to this as the retail apocalypse, a phenomenon that allows people to shop conveniently from their couches.
Even Tesla is moving toward an online-only business model. Because you can’t invite consumers in with a snazzy window display and a sign on your door, your website needs to do the work.
6 Best Ecommerce Hosting Providers
A2 Hosting – best all-around ecommerce hosting provider.
SiteGround – best for ecommerce features.
InMotion – best for ecommerce scalability.
Bluehost – best for uptime.
HostGator – best for help and support.
DreamHost – best for beginners.
A2 Hosting is the best all-around ecommerce provider, and it offers ecommerce hosting on every one of its plans. Siteground and InMotion come second and third for their powerful ecommerce functionalities, while Bluehost’s impressive uptime earns it a respectable fourth place. Meanwhile, HostGator shines for help and support, while DreamHost’s ease of use makes it, well, a dream for anyone just starting out.
Using our carefully conducted research, this article will tell you exactly what you need to know about each of these providers, from features to pricing and beyond.
A2 Hosting’s Turbo Servers allow page load speeds up to 20x faster than regular servers, and other features like SSD storage and unmetered disk space also contribute to a quick user experience. And speed is important, since even a one second delay can reduce conversions by 7%.
A2 Hosting also offers ecommerce-specific plans for all of its hosting types – so whether you choose a shared, VPS, or dedicated plan, you’ll have an option tailored to the needs of an online store.
Uptime is the only place where A2 Hosting doesn’t soar above the competition. At 99.95%, its uptime is respectable, but not as high as it could be. However, 99.95% is just the minimum guarantee, meaning you could well experience much better uptime than this.
And what A2 Hosting lacks in uptime, it makes up for in speed and customer service, so it’s just a question of which factors you value the most.
Support & Security
A2 Hosting’s customer support is one of its standout features. The Guru Crew, as A2’s customer support team like to be called, is available 24/7 via phone and live chat. In addition to the Guru Crew, there’s also a searchable knowledge base full of helpful articles that you can access any time.
As far as security goes, the free SSL certificate included with every plan ensures that your site – and your shoppers – will be safe. But A2 Hosting goes beyond the basics with its own Perpetual Security initiative, which includes free HackScan protection to prevent attacks, reinforced distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection, and a dual hosting firewall to block unauthorized users.
A2 Hosting promises fast solutions for your ecommerce hosting. It offers a range of plans to suit a variety of needs, whether you’re just starting out or running a large business.
With A2, you can choose from shared, VPS, and dedicated hosting for your online store, and get ecommerce hosting for as little as $3.92 per month on shared hosting plans.
For the speedy Turbo Server option, you need to be on at least the $9.31 per month Turbo shared hosting plan. For very small or very new online stores, the Turbo shared plan is a good option, and you can always scale up to a VPS plan later as your site grows.
Auto-installation is a lifesaver that makes the setup process much easier for you, while CDNs (Content Discovery Networks) like Cloudflare improve site speed and make your visitors happy.
SiteGround’s ecommerce plans also include free shopping carts with installation, free eShop transfer, and an eCommerce Optimized Server. Multiple server locations across three continents mean better site speed for visitors the world over, while unmetered data transfer ensures scalability as your site grows.
We gave SiteGround the title of Best for Ecommerce Features, and we weren’t kidding – the variety of features that simply come included on most plans is definitely not the norm!
SiteGround’s uptime guarantee is around 99.98% – not as great as HostGator, which guarantees 99.99% uptime, but still very impressive. 99.98% uptime converts to about one hour and 45 minutes of downtime per year.
For an ecommerce site, you’ll want to keep that window as tiny as possible, and under two hours is not bad.
Support & Security
SiteGround’s knowledge base and 24/7 phone and live chat support put it on par with A2 Hosting in terms of customer service. But what about security?
SiteGround supplies the usual free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificate, but it also has an in-house created monitoring system that checks your server status every half second, which detects and automatically fixes many ongoing issues and helps to prevent potential future problems.
SiteGround also offers advanced spam protection at no additional cost, which provides a filter for incoming and outgoing email messages. In short, SiteGround’s huge supply of features even extends to its security offerings.
SiteGround has a range of reliable hosting plans, including one specially designed for online stores built with WooCommerce.
Siteground is a great option to consider if you’ve built your store using WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin, because prices start at $3.95 per month, and there are three price plans to choose from.
The StartUp shared plan is SiteGround’s cheapest plan with ecommerce capabilities. The StartUp plan is only suitable for very small stores which aren’t really walking (or selling) yet, so we recommend skipping straight to either the $5.95 per month GrowBig plan or the $11.95 per month GoGeek plan.
While slightly pricier, both of these plans provide more scalable features, like PCI compliant servers and SuperCacher for better site speeds.
When you sign up for any SiteGround plan, you’re entitled to its 30-day money-back guarantee. This makes trying out SiteGround a low-risk option – and potentially high reward, too!
InMotion doesn’t skimp on the useful tools, even on its most basic shared plans – they still come with unlimited disk space and free domains.
InMotion is a great option for both shared and VPS hosting. If you’re a very small or new store, then InMotion’s shared plans are a great place to start, because you can easily scale up to a VPS plan later.
The Power shared plan comes “E-Commerce Ready,” with one-click shopping cart installations and multiple ecommerce apps to choose from, including PrestaShop, WooCommerce, Magento, and OpenCart.
All InMotion plans also come with free SSD (solid-state drives), which give your site faster content delivery than hard disk drives, and provide enough speed to keep even the most impatient customers satisfied. Each InMotion plan also comes with $150 worth of free advertising credits, to give you a leg up when it comes to promoting your business on popular search engines.
Support & Security
InMotion’s staff undertake 160 hours of customer support training before starting the job, so you can trust that you’re getting informative answers whenever you decide to take advantage of its 24/7 live chat and phone support.
InMotion’s basic security measures include a free SSL certificate, scheduled automatic backups to secure your data, and regular malware protection. InMotion’s security features aren’t as robust as those of its competitors, but you’ll still be adequately set up to protect your store.
InMotion’s VPS hosting is optimized for ecommerce, with a range of high quality features and helpful tools to help your business succeed.
InMotion’s shared plan prices range from $6.39-14.71/month, while its VPS plan prices range from $34.19-74.34/month. Even at the low end, InMotion’s prices are more expensive than most of its competitors’ prices, but this is slightly offset by the 90-day money-back guarantee offered on every plan.
We recommend starting with InMotion’s Power shared plan ($8.49/month). Although it’s more expensive than the $6.39/month Launch plan, the Power plan comes “E-Commerce Ready,” with one-click shopping cart installs.
Bluehost’s 99.98% uptime comes out to about one hour and 45 minutes of downtime per year, which is pretty close to perfect. Good uptime is vital for online stores in particular, because time is literally money – the longer your site is down, the longer you won’t be making any sales.
In addition to great uptime, Bluehost offers excellent features on its mid-tier plans, which are ideal for newer online stores. Bluehost’s Plus shared plan ($5.45/month) comes with unlimited SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, and unlimited domains.
Bluehost really stands out from the crowd when it comes to making WordPress sites. In fact, it’s the number one provider recommended by WordPress itself, and one-click installations mean it couldn’t be easier to set up a WordPress site through Bluehost.
WordPress’ WooCommerce plugin lets you fully customize your online store, and Bluehost’s Starter WooCommerce plan ($6.95/month) includes a pre-installed Storefront Theme, 100 GB SSD storage, and a free two hour setup call with a WooCommerce expert – so you’ll have all the support you need to get your store looking professional.
Support & Security
Bluehost’s customer service options range from email tickets to 24/7 phone and live chat support. We tested Bluehost’s live chat ourselves, and found that the responses were quick and tailored to our specific questions.
As far as security goes, Bluehost provides a free SSL certificate, Spam Assassin protection, hotlink protection, and Secure Shell access (SSH). By signing up to a Bluehost plan, you’ll be ensuring that your site has all of the standard protection measures in place.
Since you’ll be running an ecommerce site where visitors will be sharing personal information, you might be thinking about taking security measures up a notch. With Bluehost, you can do so by purchasing a premium SSL certificate at $49.99/year. You can also purchase SiteLock Find, which scans your website for malware, at $23.88/year.
Bluehost is ideal for sites built using WordPress, and has a special ecommerce package designed for stores using WooCommerce.
If you’re starting an online store with Bluehost, we recommend using the WordPress eCommerce plans, because they offer seamless integration with the WooCommerce plugin. There are three WordPress eCommerce plans to choose from, which range from $6.95-12.95/month. Of those, we recommend starting with… well, the Starter plan, at $6.95/month.
While the Starter plan only offers 100 GB SSD storage, as opposed to the unmetered SSD storage of the Plus and Pro WooCommerce plans, 100 GB will still be more than enough to get a new store up and running smoothly.
If you do decide to upgrade from the Starter plan, then we recommend skipping the middle-ground Plus plan altogether and going straight for the Pro plan ($12.95/month), which includes an SEO toolkit to help promote your site.
Bluehost also offers the industry-standard 30-day money-back guarantee, so regardless of which plan you’re leaning towards, you can test it out stress-free.
HostGator plans come with unlimited file transfer protocol (FTP) accounts, which allow you to transfer files from a computer to a network. Each plan also comes with unlimited bandwidth and unlimited email accounts, plus you also get a free domain for the first year – although you’ll have to pay to renew your domain name after that.
Uptime is a particularly impressive feature for this provider. At 99.99%, HostGator’s uptime guarantee exceeds the industry standard, and amounts to just under an hour of downtime per year. Since 100% uptime is impossible to guarantee, this is about as good as it gets.
Support & Security
HostGator’s help and support services are excellent – it offers 24/7 live chat and phone service, and also has an extensive, searchable knowledge base that provides in-depth assistance on all things hosting related.
One benefit of the knowledge base is that you can access it on your own time; furthermore, not only will you get an answer to your initial question, but you may just fall down a rabbit hole and learn more than you bargained for thanks to the many useful tidbits posted there.
Aside from the standard free SSL certificate, HostGator also provides 24/7 server monitoring and enables flood protection to prevent DDoS attacks. The Business plan, at $5.95/month, also includes private SSL to enhance your site security.
HostGator has a range of services to benefit ecommerce businesses, from its simple website builder to a variety of powerful hosting plans.
HostGator offers shared, WordPress, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting plans. You can start an ecommerce store on any HostGator plan, but we recommend the Business shared plan ($5.95/month) because it includes a dedicated SSL and dedicated IP address, and allows shopping carts and payment gateways.
HostGator’s 45 day money-back guarantee, while longer than the 30-day industry standard, doesn’t apply to dedicated plans or plans paid for by check, money order, or bank wire transfer. It’s almost guaranteed that you won’t need to start with a dedicated plan, but it’s worth keeping these conditions in mind before you choose a payment method!
DreamHost provides “unlimited traffic” on every plan. This just means that DreamHost doesn’t track bandwidth or traffic – meaning you won’t be charged for exceeding a certain amount of bandwidth. This isn’t so different from the “unmetered bandwidth” that you’ll see from a lot of other providers, and it means that your site won’t be punished for growing!
DreamHost also provides free daily backups on all of its plans, which can be a lifesaver if you’re just starting out because you won’t have to worry about losing all of your progress from one mistake.
Domain names come free for the first year when you register a .com, .org, .club, .net, or .info domain, and unlimited email is included on every plan except the Shared Starter plan – but you can add it for $1.67/month.
DreamHost’s shared and VPS plans are more than up to the task of powering a new ecommerce store – the sheer amount of features included on its shared plans are what make DreamHost so great for beginners.
But it’s worth noting that DreamHost’s dedicated plans are unimpressive. This shouldn’t affect your decision too much, though, since very few online stores will need the massive capacity of a dedicated plan.
Support & Security
DreamHost’s customer support has one major drawback: you can’t contact support directly over the phone. The support team can call you back in response to a query, but you can’t reach out first, which can prove annoying.
Instead, DreamHost’s live chat function is available from 5:30am to 9:30pm PST, seven days a week, although you may have to wait a bit at peak times.
DreamHost’s security measures are more impressive than its customer support. Every DreamHost plan comes with the industry-standard of a free SSL certificate. You also get access to DreamHost’s internally built (and pretty self-explanatory) malware remover, which finds and fixes malware on your site.
DreamHost has two different Shared hosting plans to choose from, and they're both great value for money.
DreamHost’s shared plans range from $2.59-4.95/month. We recommend starting on the $4.95/month Shared Unlimited plan, because it has everything you’ll need: unlimited traffic, WordPress pre-installed, fast SSD storage, and unlimited email @ your domain.
The cheaper Shared Starter plan has most of these features, but you’ll have to pay an additional $1.67/month for email hosting – and the cost of Shared Starter plus $1.67/month means you’ll only be paying $8.28 less per year than the full price of the Shared Unlimited plan.
DreamHost offers a 97-day money-back guarantee, but note that this only applies to credit and debit card payments made for shared hosting plans – which, if you’re just starting out with DreamHost, will probably include you!
Why do You Need E-Commerce Hosting?
Simply put, the best e-commerce hosting empowers you to make the most of whichever e-commerce software your website is built on.
No matter what the starting size of your online business, e-commerce hosts have a plan to fit your budget and anticipated traffic. Shared, VPS, cloud and dedicated hosting plans are all available for e-commerce, each with an emphasis on the speed, reliability and safety to keep your online web store hosting humming 24/7.
For beginners, e-commerce website hosting makes the transition to hosting a breeze by setting up the technical foundations for an e-commerce store like multiple shopping cart choices, secure payment gateways, preinstalling e-commerce software and offering a free website builder.
Some e-commerce solutions provide even more wraparound capabilities for your e-store from within your website, such as ordering products and setting up deliveries.
Finally, the best e-commerce hosting providers use hosting stacks that have been optimized for your e-commerce platform of choice with caching and up-to-date coding configurations. If you don’t have a lot of technical expertise, managed e-commerce platforms take on most of the server maintenance and platform updates so you can focus on your business.
What are the Benefits of E-Commerce Hosting?
You get enhanced security. With customers entering sensitive information into your databases for payment, keeping this information private and secure is of the utmost importance. E-commerce hosts take extra precautions to protect your website from DDoS and other types of cyber-attack.
You up your trustworthiness factor. Understandably, customers are much more likely to buy from a website they trust than one that they don’t. E-commerce hosting features like free SSL certificates and PCI compliance convince consumers that you can be trusted with their credit card and other personal data.
You keep your brand unified. One of the reasons to opt out of third-party marketplaces is that not only can your products get lost among a sea of other products, but your brand can get lost as well. Keeping your content and products under the same roof lets customers get your full brand experience. At the same time, you gain valuable real-time customer insights from your e-store that help you perfect your marketing strategy.
What Factors to Consider for E-Commerce Hosting
Is it simple to scale? If your dream is to go big, or at least bigger, you’re going to want an e-commerce solution that can grow with you. Keep an eye open for e-commerce hosts that let you upgrade quickly with no downtime, either on your own or with the help of the support team.
How secure is the service? As we mentioned above, security is one of if not the major concern of consumers today, and steeling your reputation as a safe online retailer is critical if you want to keep doing business. E-commerce hosting services that use malware and spam scanning, server rewinds, backups, firewalls and network scanning to keep websites secure should be at the top of your list.
Are its load speeds and reliability competitive? We all want our websites to load instantly and have zero downtime, but nowhere is this more critical than e-commerce. After all, a few milliseconds can make the difference between a sale and losing a lifetime customer. If an e-commerce host isn’t performing in terms of speed or uptimes, there’s no reason to give it a second glance – no matter how attractive its price points are.
What is the overall support experience? In e-commerce, rapidly resolving emerging hosting issues isn’t just for your peace of mind but to keep customers happy with their shopping experience. E-commerce hosting solutions that give you ample channels through which to reach around the clock support and who staff their support team with hosting experts are a sound investment.
Choose the Best E-Commerce Web Hosting
Intuitive e-commerce platforms are making it easy for people of all technology backgrounds to join the online retailing game and pairing these platforms with an outstanding e-commerce hosting environment can give you the edge over your competitors.